Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Nico Abbruzzese, Maxus

Nico Abbruzzese

 Company: Maxus

 Job Title: Global Director of Creative Technology

 Location: Singapore/New York


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?

Make your first 500 mistakes the fastest you can.

I was lucky enough, in my career, to find very early on a set of very inspired leaders that truly understood the predicament of our time. We live in exponential times: change is the only constant in any industry. The technology disruption has accelerated, our rate of encountering new and complex problems, that we were not prepared for by the taxonomical learning of academia.

Making fast mistakes and learning even faster how to adapt, was the single factor that allowed me to drive both my entrepreneurial and corporate career.


What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?

Sprint early in your career.

Careers have become, in our time, more like marathons rather than a sequence of sprints. We’re more likely to work further into our old age than our parents ever did.

Learn how to pace yourself well, place in your career smart work rather than just hard work. Finding the time in your career for passion projects as well as all things that makes us whole as people, is paramount. If you’re going to work for most of your life, you may as well love what you do and keep finding ways to love what you’re good at.


What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?

I would advise them to spend as much time exploring as many disciplines and industries as possible, nurturing an insatiable curiosity and exposure to people that are radically different from you.

The biggest tech success stories, in the last decade, have been dominated by smart and insightful people centric and interdisciplinary thinking; applying technology to solve or disrupt an industry of, otherwise, marginal improvements.

Apple, Google, Facebook, Uber, AirB&B and many others are the product of a really insightful observation of reality, and smart application of technology around it. Technology for technology’s sake only leads to another bagel slicer not another Post-it.


What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?

Always surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, help them grow, nurture their talent and respect their individuality.

Pace yourself and spend as much focus on your work as you do on your self development. Great companies are run by great human beings first and foremost.


Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?

If you want the role you aspire to, start by behaving like the role you want, do the work that you would do if you were that person, and only then you’ll have a real stab at become that person you aspire to be.

I was managing a very talented group of individuals with an insatiable drive to the top and the impatience, typical of young blood. Through this constant mantra I’ve seen them one by one succeeding in their goals, and most importantly, recognize what their real goal actually was.


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